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The Delaware Water Gap National Park Headquarters was a long-lasting project with some interesting aspects that was worked on in the Malvern office starting in 2016. The building was constructed in a 1970’s rustic modernist style with large trapezoidal window walls on the front and back of the building. The lites were glazed directly into the structural members, so as the walls shifted over time, it led to seal failures and the insulated glass becoming cloudy.
Besides the ugliness of the clouded glass, the park service also had to deal with bird strikes. Bird strikes occurred throughout the year, but was especially frequent during spring and fall migrations, causing many injuries and deaths to birds. It is estimated that over 1 billion birds die per year in the U.S. due to glass collisions. Conservationists and ornithologists consider it to be a major problem.
Seeing the need, several glass manufacturers have developed solutions for the problem. They have zeroed in on the birds’ ability to see ultraviolet light, which human eyes are unable to detect, as a way to make birds aware that they are about to fly into a solid surface. The bird glass has an ultraviolet reflective coating in a vertical bar pattern that has the appearance of a picket fence to a bird flying at it. It is usually invisible to the naked eye, but under certain conditions, it can be faintly seen like in the photo below.
This type of “bird glass” was written into the renovation specifications, which lead the GC, KMZurawa Inc., to research and locate a supplier in California. GlasPro, whose Bird Safe glass was less costly than other US-based options, was vetted by Marvin Windows and became a supplier.
GlasPro claims its product will reduce bird strikes by 75 percent, and this number was actually confirmed by a naturalist at the Delaware Water Gap, who said during our site visit that bird strikes were down 70-80 percent!
Location: Delaware Water Gap, National Park Headquarters, Bushkill, PA
General Contractor: KMZurawa, Inc.
Story Author: Jeff Paden